Los Angeles, CA — California’s governor says the signature today on his final state budget before terming out delivers on a pledge to fix the “financial mess” he inherited and prepare the state for the future.
This morning’s signing of Governor Jerry Brown’s $201.4 billion, 26-bill budget package in Los Angeles, flanked by Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and budget chairs Senator Holly J. Mitchell and Assemblymember Phil Ting, was done without any in-line vetoes.
Brown emphasized that the budget fills the state’s Rainy Day Fund to the brim, growing the balance of that voter-approved “saving for uncertain times” coffer that he committed to establishing back in 2014, to $13.8 billion. He additionally noted that by the end of this next fiscal year the current economic expansion will have matched the longest in post-war history.
Emphasis On Education, Human Welfare
Sharing other highlights, Brown points out that the budget increases funding by more than $4,600 per student over 2011-12 levels and directs $78.4 billion in funding to K-14 schools, which represents a 66 percent increase in annual funding from seven years ago. The state will also be fully implementing the Local Control Funding Formula, created to help correct historical inequities in school district funding.
The budget also increases funding for the state’s university and community colleges systems with no tuition or fees hikes and additionally establishes the state’s first-ever online community college. Brown notes that since 2012, the University of California has received $1.2 billion in new funding; $1.7 billion for the California State University and $2.4 billion for community colleges.
He also notes that the budget invests $5 billion towards addressing affordable housing and homelessness challenges, including $500 million for local governments to assist homeless in their jurisdictions. It also continues to provide billions of dollars towards raising the state’s minimum wage; growing the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit program; expanding health care coverage; restoring low-income health benefits eliminated during the recession; boosting CalWORKs grants; also increasing child care and early education provider rates and the number of children served.
Other Signature Provisions
The budget plan includes the first full year of funding under Senate Bill 1 – the state’s Road Repair and Accountability Act – with $4.6 billion in new transportation funding earmarked for repairing neighborhood roads, state highways and bridges as well as improving and modernizing passenger rail and public transit.
The $1.4 billion Cap and Trade Expenditure Plan within Brown’s final budget outlines program expenditures to further reduce carbon pollution and support climate resiliency efforts. Among these are $210 million for forest improvement and wildfire prevention projects; also $334.5 million for the California Energy Commission and the California Air Resources Board to begin implementing a multi-year initiative to accelerate sales of zero-emission vehicles through vehicle rebates and infrastructure investments.
Another provision earmarks $79 million for helping immigrants through legal services programs that include deportation defense, naturalization services and DACA assistance.